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Towards a National 3D Mapping Product for Great Britain

Wong, Kelvin Ka Yin; (2018) Towards a National 3D Mapping Product for Great Britain. Doctoral thesis (Eng.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Knowing where something happens and where people are located can be critically important to understand issues ranging from climate change to road accidents, crime, schooling, transport and much more. To analyse these spatial problems, two-dimensional representations of the world, such as paper or digital maps, have traditionally been used. Geographic information systems (GIS) are the tools that enable capture, modelling, storage, retrieval, sharing, manipulation, analysis, and presentation of geographically referenced data. Three-dimensional geographic information (3D GI) is data that can represent real-world features as objects in 3D space. 3D GI offers additional functionality not possible in 2D, including analysing and querying volume, visibility, surface and sub-surface, and shadowing. This thesis contributes to the understanding of user requirements and other data related considerations in the production of 3D geographic information at a national level. The study promotes Ordnance Survey’s efforts in developing a 3D geographic product through: (1) identifying potential applications; (2) analysing existing 3D city modelling approaches; (3) eliciting and formalising user requirements; (4) developing metrics to describe the usefulness of 3D data and; (5) evaluating the commerciality of 3D GI. A review of current applications of 3D showed that visualisation dominated as the main use, allowing for better communication, and supporting decision-making processes. Reflecting this, an examination of existing 3D city models showed that, despite the varying modelling approaches, there was a general focus towards accurate and realistic geometric representation of the urban environment. Web-based questionnaires and semi-structured interviews revealed that while some applications (e.g. subsurface, photovoltaics, air and noise quality) lead the field with a high adoption of 3D, others were laggards due to organisational inertia (e.g. insurance, facilities management). Individuals expressed positive views on the use of 3D, but still struggled to justify the value and business case. Simple building geometry coupled with non-building thematic classes was perceived to be most useful by users. Several metrics were developed to quantify and compare the characteristics of thirty-three 3D datasets. Results showed that geometry-based metrics such as minimum feature length or Euler characteristic can be used to provide additional information as part of fitness-for-purpose evaluations. The metrics can also contribute to quality control during data production. An investigation into the commercial opportunities explored the economic value of 3D, the market size of 3D data in Great Britain, as well as proposed a number of opportunities within the wider business context of Ordnance Survey.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Eng.D
Title: Towards a National 3D Mapping Product for Great Britain
Event: UCL
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Third party copyright material has been removed from the ethesis. Images identifying individuals have been redacted or partially redacted to protect their identity.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Civil, Environ and Geomatic Eng
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10047505
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